The Truth About Cars » 2013 dodge dart The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 2013 dodge dart Car Review: A Tale of Two Darts, Part the First – 2013 Dodge Dart Limited 2.0 L Tue, 10 Jun 2014 20:02:16 +0000 IMG_0092

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A while back Chrysler loaned me a Dodge Dart Limited with the 2.0 liter Tigershark engine and six-speed automatic transmission for the purpose of writing a review. That’s how it works, they loan you the car, you write the review. A social contract, if you will. In this case, however, though I drove the car for a week and took scores of photos and copious notes, I decided not to write the review at the time. That sort of behavior comes with some risk, particularly if the next time you ask for a press car and they ask for a link to your last review. I had my reasons for putting off the review, and now that I’ve driven a Dart with the larger 2.4 liter motor, I’m glad that I waited, and I think Chrysler should be glad that I waited as well.

I’ll explain all that gladness in Part Two, my review of the 2014 Dodge Dart GT 2.4 L, but everything has a backstory.

Why didn’t I write the review? To begin with, I don’t particularly like to say what everyone else is saying, even if I may agree. I don’t need to add my voice to an echo chorus. If I don’t have something original to say, why bother with “me too”?

What everyone else was saying was that the combination of the 2 liter engine with the automatic resulted in rather canine behavior and we’re not talkin’ greyhounds here. The fact that the Dart with the two liter engine and slushbox is a dog has been attested to by most reviewers and it’s hardly any secret with Chrysler folks too. Detroit is a place where you might run into a decision maker in the auto industry at the grocery when out to buy bread and milk for your mom and where the Dart you park next to might very well have been bought by an engineer on an employee discount. Whenever I mention to Chrysler folks about that drivetrain being a slug, they sort of shrug their shoulders and smile sheepishly.

After my week with the Dart Limited 2.0L/6AT, I wanted to check out the Dart with the larger 2.4L engine. Unfortunatley, there weren’t very many of those made in the Dart’s early production mix. That’s another reason why I’ve waited to write this review. I wasn’t sure just how representative the car I tested was of the Darts you’d be able to buy going forward. I knew that months before I got the test car Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne admitted that the 2.0L/6AT and the Fiat 1.4 Multiair Turbo powertrains “were not the ideal solution,” and a company spokesperson said that the production mix would be rebalanced as 2.4 L engine production ramped up at the company’s Dundee, Michigan engine plant. The production mix has indeed changed and the 2.4 liter is now installed in the majority of Darts. The 2.0 liter is now only available in the base SE car and the 1.4 turbo shared with the Fiat 500 is only offered on the Dart Aero. In that sense I was correct, the car that I’m describing to you is not representative of what you can buy. In fact, you can’t even buy a 2014 Dart Limited with the 2.0.

So why write the review now? Well, to begin with the drivetrain is still available on the Dart, if not with the same high trim level. Also, as it turns out, I think the basic car is pretty decent, even better than that, and some buyers, out of a sense of frugality or budget realities, might decide to buy the Dart SE, thinking that they’ll get a nice car, and save money both on the purchase and on gasoline. As you’ll see, though, the 2.0 liter may be a false economy. Finally, reviewing this car puts the upcoming Dart GT review in context and much of this review will also still be relevant to those considering a Dart Limited.

The problem as I see it isn’t how much power that engine has, or doesn’t have. With 160 hp, it’s not going to be a speed demon but under normal circumstances with that much power in a slightly chubby compact car you should be fine in traffic and on the highway. However, every combination of engine and transmission these days seems to be calibrated to yield maximum Ms per G on the EPA test cycle, not maximum driveability. The 2.0L/6AT combination is EPA rated at 25/36 and it seems calibrated to get into the highest gear ratio as quickly as possible, meaning you’re in a higher gear before you ever get to the meaty part of the power curve.

I tend to treat “it was so slow as to be unsafe in traffic” reviews with some skepticism because 20 year old Hondas and Camrys can keep up with traffic just fine, even today when 300+ horsepower cars are commonplace. However, the way the 2.0/6AT combo drove, I genuinely felt nervous when trying to zip into a spot in traffic or when merging onto the freeway. I love a good stick shift, but I’ve never warmed to using paddle shifters or manually shifting with automatic transmissions. I figure that ZF et al know more about shifting than I do. Still, with this Dart I discovered that I had to autostick it to force the car to hold a gear long enough to be able to get on top of it and accelerate safely in traffic.

I also discovered why the transmission and engine are mapped the way they are. Leaving the car to its own devices in mixed suburban driving I was getting an indicated gas mileage in the high twenty-nines, but when I started shifting myself that dropped to about 26.5 mpg.

I really wanted to like the car. Based on the Compact U.S. Wide platform that Chrysler’s engineers in Auburn Hills derived from Fiat’s C-Evo platform first seen under the current Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the Dart feels spacious, at least for front seat passengers. Wide is no misnomer, there’s an airy feel to the cabin from behind the wheel. The belt line sweeps up towards the rear of the car but at the driver’s window it’s almost low enough for resting your elbow. Because of that rising belt line, though, rear passengers might feel a bit more closed in.

Visibility for the driver is pretty good, except for the fact that the hood slopes down sharply and you can’t see the front corners. Sajeev Mehta will rejoice at the Day Light Opening (DLO) win, as small triangular windows behind the rear door glass provide a clear look at your blind spots over your shoulders. They also help keep rear passengers from getting claustrophobic from the high belt line in back. Speaking of DLO, there is some DLO fail around the mirror and A pillar, with a black plastic insert.

Speaking of black plastic, there’s a variety of black colored and textured polymers at play in the interior. Most of the surfaces that you’d come into contact with, though, are of the soft touch kind.

Everything up front was properly ergonomic, with Chrysler’s industry leading 8.4″ UConnect touchscreen well integrated visually with the configurable display that sits directly in front of the driver. I thought the default red color scheme of the liquid crystal displays was a bit garish, compared to the cooler blue scheme on the Chrysler 300S I’d had the week before, but that’s just a matter of personal taste. YMMV. The instrument panel is surrounded by a band of red trim that lights up subtly when the headlights are on. It’s a nice touch in this class of car, providing you like red.

Chrysler is big on their sliding console storage bin in the company’s minivans. I think that’s where they got the idea for a two position armrest on top of the console storage bin. Whichever position you slide it to, when you open it, you’ll find a USB port, a 1/8″ AUX port, and, what is getting to be a rarity these days, a CD drive.

The 60/40 fold-down back seat features a console that flips down from the seat back and contains cupholders and a storage bin. When that console is flipped down, it reveals the hatch for passing though long items that are being stored in the trunk, like skis.

I thought the rear seat was roomy enough but then I’m a 5’6 tall guy with a 28″ inseam. I was left with about 3″ of headroom and about 5″ of knee room. Will it Zayde? Yes, I had no problems getting my grandson’s rear facing car seat in the Dart. There are child seat latch anchors on the back deck for all three rear seat positions.

In Limited trim, the Dart had most of the features most drivers will want, in fact, most of the options offered on the car – it was pretty loaded. With the Technology Group, Premium Group, automatic transmission, UConnect and a few odds and ends, it stickered out to $25,190, including a $795 destination charge.

The seats were full leather and quite comfortable. They feature the now ubiquitous contrasting detail stitching. The passenger seat has a hidden storage compartment under the hinged seat squab for stowing small valuables.

Visually, to my tastes it’s an attractive car, sort of a muscular and squat wedge. Car companies are putting more style into their mass market compact sedans. There’s a lot of sheet metal contouring happening on the hood and around the front end that you probably wouldn’t have seen a few years ago in a class of cars that American’s have considered to be economy cars. On the outside, the Dart looks more expensive than it is.

I like the way the headlamp lenses stand proud of the fender and the rear end goes together in harmony, with an integrated. duck tail spoiler. The rear end also features a version of the Dodge Charger’s brand identifying full-width LED tail-lights. I think that the smarter designers today are using the flexibility of LED and other modern lighting technology to make a brand statement in the dark of night as well as in the light of the day.

Other than acceleration, what’s it like to drive? The Dart wants to handle. Those Alfa genes are strong. The problem is that under normal driving, letting the car shift for itself, the drivetrain’s lack of acceleration compromises the handling. You can dive bomb into a corner and it holds the line just fine, but when you want to power through the exit letting front wheel drive understeer help straighten the car out, there’s just no there there.

At first I was struck at some obvious price-pointing, but I realized that impression was biased by the fact that when they dropped off the Dart, they picked up that Chrysler 300S AWD with a Hemi, a car whose base price is almost double that of a stripper $16K Dart. While there’s indeed $14,000 worth of visible and tactile difference between the Dart and the 300, the Dart feels solid and has a fairly comfortable ride for a compact. The test car was equipped with 17″ X 7.5″ aluminum wheels mounted with 225/45 R17 Continental ContiproContact tires.

There was one visible quality control issue, a surprising one. While doing the photo shoot I noticed something I haven’t seen in a long time, a paint “run”, a drip at least an inch long near one of the rocker panels. I worked at a DuPont automotive paint lab from 1982 into the 21st century and I haven’t seen a visible paint defect that bad since the early 1990s. To be fair, the rest of the paint, and the rest of the Dart seemed to be defect free.

I noticed something else that, no pun intended, touches on quality control, or at least attention to detail, while doing the photo shoot. If you have to open the hood and the engine is hot, make sure that you’re wearing an oven mitt or using something else to protect your hand before you grab the prop rod that holds up the open hood. When stowed, the prop rod sits right above the radiator and it gets very hot.

I had high hopes for the Dart but as equipped with the 2.0L/6AT powertrain it left me disappointed. I thought the revival of the nameplate was brilliant, with many Americans holding fond memories of a reliable, inexpensive compact American car, powered by the almost indestructible Slant Six. I also knew that when they have tried, eg. Neon, the boffins in Auburn Hills know how to make a compact car, even if the company as a whole didn’t quite get the continuous improvement thing. I think that they still know how to make a decent small car, but my first encounter with the Dart suffered from expectations not met. So much so that it was my choice as my least favorite test car of 2013. Yep, not only did I not review a loaned car, I slagged it off at the end of the year. I suppose that also risked some displeasure of the folks in Auburn Hills, but they can’t complain that much since in that same end-of-year wrap up I also said that the Chrysler 300S AWD Hemi was my favorite car of 2013.

Maybe all that stuff about ticking off car companies with negative reviews is a bit exaggerated, because despite doing somethings that wouldn’t necessarily curry favor with them, the folks at Chrysler approved it when I asked the fleet company if they had a 2.4 liter Dart for me to try. We’ll look at that car, a GT model, in Part Two.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Never Mind The Inventory, Here’s The Dart GT Tue, 08 Jan 2013 15:28:10 +0000

TTAC’s Alex Dykes didn’t fall in love with the Dodge Dart in his initial meeting, although he did refer to it as “class competitive”. In its first half-year on these shores, the Alfa-Dodge has struggled to keep inventory levels down despite great advertising.

Ten or twenty years ago, Chrysler might have let this state of affairs continue for a year or two before adjusting the product mix and/or changing the marketing approach, but in the lean-and-mean era they don’t play that game. The Dart GT is meant to restart the model’s momentum, and it does it the old-fashioned way: with high content and reasonably aggressive pricing.

The GT is powered by the big motor in the Dart lineup — the 2.4L, 184-horsepower “Tigershark” — and it’s pretty well-loaded with everything from leather to the 8.4-inch touchscreen in the center console. It appears that the suspension tuning and components are brought over from the R/T, although the press release doesn’t explicitly state that fact. HIDs and a Garmin nav appear on the option list. Price for the manual-transmission variant is $20,995.

If you didn’t fancy the Dart before, this won’t change your mind, but if you were waiting for a little more visual aggression at a reasonable price, this might do the trick. We’ll see it in Detroit.

2013 Dodge Dart GT Picture courtesy Dodge. 2013 Dodge Dart GT 2013 Dodge Dart GT 2013 Dodge Dart GT 2013 Dodge Dart GT 2013 Dodge Dart GT 2013 Dodge Dart GT 2013 Dodge Dart GT 2013 Dodge Dart GT 2013 Dodge Dart GT 2013 Dodge Dart GT 2013 Dodge Dart GT ]]> 26
Wall Street Journal Misses Its Mark With The Dart Wed, 19 Sep 2012 16:15:33 +0000

It’s the kind of mistake that only a blogger (said with a contemptuous sneer) would make. The Wall Street Journal reports that

“U.S. regulators rated a new Chrysler Group LLC compact car with highway fuel-economy of 41 miles a gallon, a move that fulfills a key element of the company’s 2009 federal bailout and cleared the way earlier this year for majority owner Fiat SpA to increase its stake in the Detroit auto maker.”

They got it wrong.

To hear the WSJ tell it, you’d be led to believe that

“Italy’s Fiat took control of Chrysler in 2009 after agreeing with the U.S. government to help the U.S. auto maker produce a line of new fuel-efficient on cars based on Fiat designs. Fiat was originally given a 20% stake in Chrysler, and was allowed to increase its holding for achieving certain goals, one of which was helping Chrysler produce a car that goes at least 40 miles on a gallon of gasoline.”

The WSJ isn’t technically wrong – one of the stipulations was for Fiat to help Chrysler produce a 40 mpg car. But it had nothing to do with 40 mpg highway, the Dodge Dart Aero, or even the current fuel economy regulations as we know them.

As our Editor Emeritus Ed Niedermeyer reported back in 2011, the requirement, as stipulated by the U.S. government, was for Fiat to produce a made-in-America car that got a combined 40 mpg unadjusted. This means, crucially, that the combined figure is calculated using the pre-2008 fuel economy calculation standard that led to inflated fuel economy ratings. How much of a difference does this really make? Ed laid it all out unsparingly

“40 MPG combined unadjusted translates to almost exactly 30 MPG combined on the “adjusted” EPA test cycle which is used to produce window stickers for vehicles currently on the market. This is hardly a benchmark for a meaningful “Ecological Commitment” in the sense that a significant number of currently-available mass-market cars currently achieve this standard, and the cleanest vehicles on the market exceed it by dramatic amounts. According to the EPA, at least 11 2010 model-year “compact cars” currently achieve the 30 MPG combined adjusted standard. At least six “midsize sedans” achieved the magic number for the outgoing model-year, as did two “upscale sedans,” two convertibles, two station wagons and three SUVs (although the SUVs are all derivatives of the Ford Escape Hybrid).”

The WSJ uses the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero as its example, but the Dart Aero isn’t the sole model to get the 40 MPG unadjusted combined figure – the base 1.4L 6-speed manual car returns 32 mpg combined, while the automatic 1.4L returns 31 mpg combined, which would place them above the 40 mpg unadjusted cutoff value. The Aero models get 32 mpg combined with either transmission. Meanwhile, Darts with the 2.0L 4-cylinder get 29 mpg combined with the manual (just missing the mark) and 27 mpg with the automatic.

While Ed already explored the inside story of how a few word choices effectively torpedoed any chance for meaningful advancement in fuel efficiency, (while giving Marchionne & Co a free slice of Fiat), the “40 MPG meme” is still alive and well. For all the darts that the WSJ has thrown at the Obama administration, one would think that they’d be the last entity to let the Dems dodge their well-aimed crosshairs on this issue.


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2013 Dodge Dart Priced At $15,995 Mon, 16 Apr 2012 15:13:20 +0000

Dodge has released pricing for the 2013 Dart compact sedan, and the base SE will go for $15,995. The most expensive R/T model will top out at $22,495.

In between those two extremes are the $17,995 SXT, which adds body-colored trim, Air-conditioning, keyless entry and a split folding rear seat. This is the one with all the popular equipment, so good luck finding a base SE on the dealer lot. The SE can only be equipped with a 2.0L “Tigershark” 4-cylinder engine making 160 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque (with a choice of 6-speed manual or automatic gearboxes), but the SXT and Rallye version, which gets a number of cosmetic upgrades, can also be equipped with a 160 horsepower 1.4L MultiAir turbo engine. The R/T gets the 2.4L Tigershark engine making 184 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque.

Equipment-wise, 10 airbags, stability control/traction control and ABS are standard. The SXT adds power mirrors and locks as well as Chrysler’s UConnect system with and 8.4″ touch screen as an option. The Rallye and Limited cars both offer foglamps and other cosmetic touches, with the Limited getting some nicer leather interior and the highly touted TFT display. The R/T gets the big 2.4 engine, sport suspension and dual exhausts.

For your own edification, the press release has been posted below:

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 16, 2012 – /PRNewswire/ – 


  • 2013 Dodge Dart delivers exceptional value with a starting U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of just $15,995 MSRP
  • All-new Dart hits the mark with features and benefits never before seen in a compact car
  • Five well-equipped trim levels offer class-leading safety features, unparalleled customization, breakthrough technology and amenities typically found in more expensive vehicle segments
  • Built on a world-class architecture, Dodge Dart offers three technologically advanced, fuel-efficient and powerful engines including the 1.4L MultiAir® Turbo
  • The 2013 Dodge Dart competes in the largest retail automotive segment in the United States, the compact car segment, which represents approximately 15 percent of the new car market


The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart leverages the world-class architecture and DNA of Alfa Romeo and then infuses it with Dodge passion and design, creating an agile, fun-to-drive compact car with mid-size levels of interior roominess and unmatched style, technology, safety and customization. The Dodge Dart brings this style and technology to market starting at a U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just $15,995 (excluding destination), delivering a thoroughly modern vehicle that’s beautifully designed and crafted with high-quality materials, attention to detail and precision craftsmanship.

“The all-new Dodge Dart is a groundbreaking car, offering features and benefits never before found in a compact car,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO, Dodge Brand. “With class-leading style, customization, safety, technology, and interior levels of roominess, the all-new Dart perfectly blends Alfa Romeo DNA and Dodge passion and style into one all-new car that customers will be proud to own and look forward to driving.”

Loaded with innovative technology, class-leading safety features and clever functionality, the 2013 Dodge Dart sets a new standard in the compact car segment by offering unmatched personalization, roominess, style, functionality and fun-to-drive dynamics.

The 2013 Dodge Dart is available in five different trim levels in the United States. Customers can choose from the SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T.

The starting U.S. MSRP for the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart (all prices exclude$795 destination):


  • Dodge Dart SE $15,995
  • Dodge Dart SXT $17,995
  • Dodge Dart Rallye $18,995
  • Dodge Dart Limited $19,995
  • Dodge Dart R/T $22,495 (available Q3 2012)


2013 Dodge Dart SE – $15,995 starting U.S. MSRP

The Dodge Dart SE offers customers a stylish new car that breaks the mold of the typical compact car, while delivering great value. It’s powered by the new 2.0-liter 16-valve Tigershark I-4 engine, which produces a best-in-class standard 160 horsepower (hp) and 148 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a six-speed manual transmission, or available six-speed automatic.

Select standard equipment includes class-leading safety features, such as 10 standard air bags, four wheel disc anti-lock brakes, brake assist, electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control. Dart separates itself from the competition with world-class aerodynamics and distinctive style with standard projector headlamps, LED taillamps, body-color crosshair grille and laminated windshield. The interior features a premium soft-touch instrument panel with bright accents, six-way manual driver seat with height adjuster, unique ‘Denim’ cloth seats, power windows, AM/FM CD with MP3 and much more. All 2013 Dodge Dart models feature the security of a 5-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

2013 Dodge Dart SXT – $17,995 starting U.S. MSRP

The 2013 Dodge Dart SXT model includes the standard equipment of the SE model, as well as 17-inch aluminum wheels; power body-color mirrors and door locks; remote keyless entry; six-speakers; security alarm, 60/40 split folding rear seat, sliding armrest; air conditioning with micron filter and more.

Owners can customize their SXT with a wide array of options, including the class-exclusive 8.4-inch touch screen, Garmin navigation, in-seat storage, rear backup camera, power sunroof and a 506-watt sound system.

2013 Dodge Dart Rallye – $18,995 starting U.S. MSRP

The Dodge Dart Rallye adds a customized look to the Dodge Dart with distinctive performance front and rear fascias and a choice of four interior colors – Black with Light Diesel Grey, Diesel with Light Diesel Grey, Black with Ruby Red or Diesel Grey with Citrus Peel.

Rallye includes the standard equipment of the SXT model and also adds the following to create a one-of-a-kind look: unique black front fascia accents; black headlamp bezels; projector fog lamps; class-exclusive integrated dual exhaust with bright exhaust tips; leather-wrapped steering wheel;speed control; steering wheel audio controls; trip computer and more.

Rallye customers can further express themselves with class-exclusive Hyper Black wheels or the powerful efficiency of the 1.4-liter MultiAir® Turbo delivering 160 horsepower and an impressive 184 lb.-ft. of torque.

2013 Dodge Dart Limited – $19,995 starting U.S. MSRP

The all-new Dodge Dart Limited represents the ultimate in luxury with mid-size levels of interior roominess, class-leading safety and technology, all for less than $20,000 MSRP.

The Dodge Dart Limited includes the standard equipment of the Dart SXT and adds the following impressive list of equipment, including unique bright grille and door handles; 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen with rear backup camera; class-exclusive 7-inch TFT (Thin Film Transistor) reconfigurable instrument cluster display; floating island bezel; projector fog lamps; 10-way power driver seat; automatic headlamps; active grille shutters; premium accent stitching on the instrument panel; and much more.

Limited customers can indulge in a variety of class-exclusive features, including premium Nappa leather with heated steering wheel, Garmin navigation, rear cross path detection and polished aluminum wheels.

2013 Dodge Dart R/T: $22,495 starting U.S. MSRP (3rd quarter 2012 availability):

The Dodge Dart R/T pays homage to the heritage of the R/T badge with distinctive styling and performance attributes that cater to the performance enthusiast with discriminating taste.

The Dodge Dart R/T is powered by the new 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir 2 4-cylinder that produces an impressive 184 horsepower and 171 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission or available six-speed automatic with AutoStick.

The R/T features the standard content of the Limited and adds the following distinctive equipment: 18-inch aluminum wheels; sport suspension with frequency-sensing damping shocks; unique performance front fascia with black accents and Hyper Black grille; black headlamp bezels; integrated dual exhaust with bright exhaust tips; R/T-unique premium Nappa perforated leather seats; dual- zone automatic temperature control; heated seats; class-exclusive heated steering wheel;and more.

Customers can also enhance their R/T with class-exclusive Hyper Black aluminum wheels, Keyless Enter ‘n Go, HID Headlamps and a 506-watt sound system, to name just a few features.

Production of the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart begins at Chrysler Group’s Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant in the second quarter 2012 and will begin arriving in U.S. dealer showrooms in June 2012.

About Dodge:

For nearly 100 years, Dodge has defined passionate and innovative vehicles that stand apart in performance and in style. Building upon its rich heritage of muscle cars, racing technology and ingenious engineering, Dodge offers a full-line of cars, crossovers, minivans and SUVs built for top performance – from power off the line and handling in the corners, to high-quality vehicles that deliver unmatched versatility and excellent fuel efficiency. Only Dodge offers such innovative functionality combined with class-leading performance, exceptional value and distinctive design. With the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart, the all-new Dodge Charger paired with the ZF eight-speed transmission that achieves a class-leading 31 miles per gallon on the highway, the new Durango and the significantly revamped Grand Caravan – inventor of the minivan – Journey, Avenger and iconic Challenger, Dodge now has one of the youngest dealer showrooms in the United States.

SOURCE Chrysler Group LLC

Read more here:


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NAIAS: 2013 Dodge Dart Mon, 09 Jan 2012 16:55:03 +0000

What don’t you know about the Dart? I will tell you something: it is spacious inside. The rear seat is no-kidding suitable for full-sized adults In fact, it’s quite nice to sit in, front and back. Click the jump for some comments from Speed:Sport:Life’s Byron Hurd:

“In a scene more suitable for debuting a new iteration of the ‘Rock Band’ franchise than the launch of a new domestic compact, Dodge proudly introduced its new 2013 Dart. It’s small. It’s Italian (sort of). It looks like nothing else on the road… from the front or rear, anyway.

Actually, don’t look at the sides too closely or the Kia Forte greenhouse and Mazda3 rear deck profile (each its respective model’s least-attractive design trait) will be obvious. Of course, Dodge took great pains to point out that they were not beholden to any previous compact strategy, the subtext here of course that the outgoing Caliber was neither compact nor the product of any recognizable strategy.

Naught has changed since we received preleminary specs a few weeks back. Three engines offer either 160 or 184hp (the former from either a 2.0L non-turbo or a 1.4L turbocharged MultiAir; the latter available only from the 2.4L, naturally aspirated range-topper) and you have your “choice” of 6-speed manual transmission, 6-speed slush-o-matic, or six-speed-not-a-DSG-twin-clutch. The dual-clutch unit will be available only on the MultiAir turboharged engine, and going by industry convention, we expect the 6-Speed manual will be limited to the 2.0L and lower trims of the 2.4L.”

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